Tevez fires hat-trick as City leap into top four

Mancini hails Argentine's thrilling display after his side move up league with easy Blackburn win
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The Independent Football

Roberto Mancini watched his Argentine striker Carlos Tevez send Manchester City fourth in the Premier League table with an imperious hat-trick and subsequently revealed that he had attempted to sign him for his Internazionale side two-and-a-half years ago.

City's 4-1 win over Blackburn Rovers was a serious statement of intent at a time when all their main rivals for top-four places are faltering. If City win their game in hand over Manchester United they will lie three points behind the champions and Tevez's contribution – he now has 11 goals in eight starts - led Mancini to reveal why, in the summer of 2007, he made a move when the Argentine was leaving West Ham. "I tried to buy him but it was not possible because he played for United," Mancini said.

Mancini revealed that he has yet to speak with Emmanuel Adebayor about being caught up in the shooting tragedy with the Togo team in Angola. "I wait for him and when he comes back I'll speak with him and [then] we will decide when he will play," said the Italian after maintaining his 100 per cent City record in his fourth game.

But in Adebayor's absence, Benjani Mwaruwari chipped in with three assists in his first league start for 13 months and, like Martin Petrov, is revealing qualities Mark Hughes never saw in him. "I saw him in a training session and he worked very well," said Mancini. The Italian dismissed the suggestion that this was his side's best game, as he was angered by the soft goal they conceded to Morten Gamst Pedersen – the first conceded in his tenure. "I don't like this," he said. "For me this is a gift. At 3-0 we have lost concentration. It is most important that we stay concentrated for whole game. Football can change in one second."